Thales has issued alerts on cybercrime links in the newest edition of its CyberThreat Handbook.

The United Nations and Accenture estimate that organised cybercrime will cost the global economy around $5.2 trillion between 2020 and 2025. Thales’ cybersecurity expert alert on states that cybercrime is one of the most dangerous threats today for companies, organisations and institutions.

The cybercrime edition of the annual CyberThreat Handbook decrypts well-organised networks which allows cybercriminals to mix cyber techniques and attacks with other forms of criminalities. Thales’ experts present the cybercriminals’ modus operandi and the ways to counter them through the report.

Attacks by cybercriminals will create increasing amount of damage

The report includes analysis and conclusions on cybercrime networks which consist of a large number of hackers groups, plus the interactions and permanent movements which unite organised cybercrime and bring it to life.

A statement by Thales warns: “Without protection or proactive means, the attacks of cybercriminals will create each time more damage. To face their always-evolving techniques, a better understanding of the threat is key; advanced tools and services such as Threat Intelligence are an asset to anticipate this threat as much as possible.”

“By interacting as a network of cybercrime groups, cybercriminals are able to function increasingly effectively: each group specialises in a particular area, and the different groups collaborate to benefit from each other’s expertise. It is this specialisation that makes cybercriminals more effective, allowing them to concentrate on a given type of attack, while drawing on know-how from within the network.”

Report explores “Big game hunters”

The handbook covers the threat from the most technically adept cyber attackers, with highly sophisticated compromise strategies and substantial financial resources. These are referred to as “Big Game Hunters”, whose tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) and technical infrastructure are similar to certain state-sponsored hacking groups. They attack specific targets, such as political institutions and major companies, using ransomware to demand large sums.

Cybercriminals use a combination of technical expertise and the panic that they sow in companies and institutions to achieve their objectives. Panic can have a devastating impact in terms of the consequences of an attack and the report warns it is vital not to give in to threats or blackmail.

The statement adds: “Cybercriminals’ targets are extremely diverse and opportunistic; any organisation can suffer from it. Thales’ experts strongly recommend bearing in mind that anyone can be a target in order to be prepared and to adopt a clear and detailed cyber crisis strategy.

The report states that 60 per cent of of the “huge revenues” from cybercrime come from illegal online markets, 30 per cent from theft of intellectual property and trade secrets and only 0.07 per cent from ransomware, although it adds this method can do the most damage.

With revenues estimated up to $1.5 trillion a year – around 1.5 times greater income (as an annual average) than counterfeiting, and 2.8 times more than the illegal drugs trade – Thales described the the cybercrime network as “a whole economic system that can now endanger any company or organisation with severe consequences on the world’s economy.”